In July 2022, Side With Love hosted the Climate Disaster Response Workshop for individuals interested in organizing in their communities to respond to climate disasters, led by Rachel Myslivy, Climate Justice Organizer, and Rev. Ranwa Hammamy, Congregational Justice Organizer.
Come together for shared learning and mutual support with other UUs working on congregational transformation through climate justice. We invite you to join our Green Sanctuary Team Meetings, which take place virtually on every third Wednesday of the month at 5PT - 6MT - 7CT - 8ET. These community conversations are open to anyone who is interested in transforming their congregation through climate justice. Sign up here.
Additionally, we are offering this series again this fall. Join this series of workshops with activities to help you identify the climate risks, understand who is most at risk and how your community will be impacted. From there, make a plan to prepare for and respond to climate disasters in your neighborhood.
Sessions: Sept 29: Assessing climate impacts & making connections; Oct 6: Mobilizing for action; Oct 13: Community conversation. All sessions are 2 hours long and begin at 7ET - 6CT - 5MT - 4PT.
We also invite you to sign theClimate Justice Voter Pledge. Join us in creating a groundswell of politically active climate voters to build the power to change policy and build resilient communities.
Climate Disaster Response Workshop Recording and Materials
When we think of climate disasters, we usually think about wildfires, floods, or hurricanes. Extreme heat may not be the first thing to come to mind, but it is one of the most dangerous of all climate impacts, especially with urban heat islands common in historically segregated communities. Extreme heat kills hundreds of Americans each year and causes many more to be seriously ill.
News of record-breaking heat is everywhere right now–you may be feeling the effects in your hometown. While some media outlets say, “everyone loves the summer heat!” with fun pictures of children playing in pools, the reality is that many of our friends and loved ones are profoundly suffering in this heat. This is not about discomfort. This about the safety, health, and sustaining quality of life that affirms the inherent worth and dignity of all. Our bodies and our infrastructure are not designed for these more frequent extreme heat events. This is why we fight for just policy and take action to care for and build resilient communities.
Sunday, July 31, 2022 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET (Note the Time Zone!)
Climate disasters impact our communities - how can UUs be prepared? Join this hands-on workshop with activities to help you identify the climate risks, understand who is most at risk, and how your community will be impacted. From there, make a plan to prepare for and respond to climate disasters in your neighborhood. This workshop is a follow up to "Fostering Local Climate Resilience through Disaster Response and Community Care'. Attendees are encouraged to watch the video of that training in advance of this workshop. Invite your congregation to watch with you!
How can we center the inherent worth and dignity of every person in this extreme heat?
We can use our gifts to offer love, to work for justice, to heal injury, to create pleasure for ourselves and others. We can recognize our mutual independence with all life. We can take actions that are grounded in justice, guided by wisdom, and sustained with hope. We can learn, act, and reflect to cultivate the beloved community.
Exposure affects people who work outdoors, in buildings with no air conditioning, the unhoused members of our communities, and people who live in inefficient housing or without air conditioning.
Sensitivity to heat makes the very young, elderly, pregnant people, and folks with some health conditions more at risk.
The Ability to Respond makes it difficult for some to respond and prepare to avoid the heat. This includes our neighbors who cannot afford air conditioning or the electricity to use it because of high electricity burdens; people whose mobility issues make it difficult to access health care or get to a cooling center; and those who are exposed to extreme heat through work or lack of housing.
Extreme heat can cause heat-related illness and death, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disorders, kidney disorders, and cerebrovascular disease. Increased ground level ozone can cause asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. In extreme heat, we see increased numbers of workplace injuries, increased violence, and mental health problems. It’s hard on all of us, but some are more impacted than others.
ACT NOW and plan for the long-haul.
Things you can do today:
Offer your building as a cooling center to provide sanctuary from the extreme heat.
If your congregation is in an area with heavy foot traffic, set out bottles of sunscreen and a cooler with paper cups for passersby to hydrate.
Set up calling trees to check on elderly or sick members of your congregation every day until the heat subsides. Ask each person you call if they’re concerned about anyone else; add those people to your calling tree.
Advocate for effective energy efficiency programs that prioritize lower- and middle-income residents.
Work for the equitable transition to a clean energy future through energy democracy and energy justice. The people most impacted by energy decisions should have the greatest say in shaping them.
Make sure that justice is at the core of your climate action. Update your understanding of climate action to center the experience of those most impacted by climate change. We must work together for the liberation of all. No excuses.
Meditate on the ways love in action can transform our world. Breathe in love, breathe out justice.
Come together in community to create compassionate spaces for collective grief and community healing to ground and sustain our work.
Practice grace and compassion in your every interaction; consider the burdens we all carry, and be kind.
Celebrate the beauty and wonder of all creation. Seek restoration and healing in nature and in community with others.
Prayerfully consider what radical acts of faith you can commit to personally, and how you will help lead in your congregation.
This work is hard, but we can do all of these things and more if we work together. As always, please reach out if you have ideas, need help, or want to talk through your plans. When you take action, tell us all about it. Every action counts. Thank you for your work.
Climate Organizer for Side with Love
How can we center the inherent worth and dignity of every person in this extreme heat?
Last week the Supreme Court limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to address emissions that cause climate change, compromising half a century of health, environmental, and climate justice advocacy. The decision in West Virginia v. EPA significantly limits the EPA’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from coal and gas-fired power plants using the Clean Air Act. The Court’s ruling will disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities. These populations are more likely to live near power plants, experience higher rates of pollution, are most affected by the public health impacts of climate and are more likely to experience climate-forced displacement.
Tell Biden: Choose People over Fossil Fuels. Sign on to a list of executive actions that Biden must take right away to protect and invest in BIPOC and working-class communities impacted first and worst by pollution and climate disaster, stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and declare climate change a national emergency
Call Your Senators NOW to express outrage at this decision and demand they do everything they can to stop climate change and protect our communities from air pollution and climate disasters.
Take distributed action! Commit to getting 75% of your congregation to take one or all of these actions! Please fill out the Action Center Story & Report form to share your work with us.
This ruling adds to the pain and anger for those of us already mourning the devastating reversal of Roe v. Wade, the elimination of local gun controls, and the undermining of indigenous sovereignty – all while we face another summer of extreme heat with rising energy costs; and climate disasters like wildfires and floods displacing thousands of people. We must acknowledge our friends and neighbors who will now be denied bodily autonomy and be burdened by the financial cost and danger of trying to access care are the same people who continue to face the worst of the climate crisis.
As we wrote in May, “Our Unitarian Universalist faith affirms that all of our bodies are sacred, and that we are each endowed with the twin gifts of agency and conscience. . . . When disparities in resources or freedoms make it more difficult for certain groups of people to exercise autonomy over their own bodies, our faith compels us to take liberatory action.” This bodily autonomy applies as much to our right to choose as it does our right to clean air and clean water. We encourage you to discern where you feel called to be, and we send you our gratitude and blessings for showing up for justice.
How can we respond with love and justice at the core of our intentions and actions? What liberatory action can we take now?
Organize. Your. Congregation.
Make a plan to prepare for and respond to climate disasters in your neighborhood. Climate disasters impact our communities - how can UUs be prepared? Join this hands-on workshop with activities to help you identify the climate risks, understand who is most at risk, and how your community will be impacted. Register for the Climate Disaster Response Workshop - July 31, 2022 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET.
Commit to action on climate forced displacement. Join the UU Ministry for Earth, UUs for a Just Economic Community, UUA, UUA Office at the United Nations, UUs for Social Justice, and the UU Service Committee in a joint UU Statement of Commitment in Response to Climate-Forced Displacement. It’s an historic moment of UU collaboration at a time when we’re seeing unprecedented climate-forced migration all over the globe - even right here in our communities. Sign on to respond to Climate-Forced Displacement.
Connect with people organizing for Environmental and Climate Justice in your community, state, or region. Ask them how you and your congregation can help (don’t tell them what to do!). Centering values and lived experience is critical to achieving energy and climate justice. The 4th Arm - Partnership for Southern Equity demonstrates that when BIPOC communities are authentically and thoughtfully engaged in organizing, we can win on climate and create systemic change.
Prepare yourself for the long haul journey to climate justice. Take a deep breath. Connect with your friends. Hydrate. Smile at a child. Sing a song. Center love.
We can do this.
Climate Justice Organizer
Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team
Response to Supreme Court Ruling on West Virginia v. EPA
Climate forced displacement is on the news every day. Most recently, the fires in New Mexico have displaced up to 18,000 people in the largest wildfire in the state’s history. The Hermit’s Peak and Canyon Calf fires are only about 65% contained; the true impacts are hard to gauge, and it will take years to recover.
Climate disasters will challenge every community. How can UUs prepare? How can we center justice in our response? How can our congregations be beacons of hope in these trying times?
RSVP for the follow up Climate Disaster Response Workshop - July 31, 2022 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET. Climate disasters impact our communities - how can UUs be prepared? Join this hands-on workshop with activities to help you identify the climate risks, understand who is most at risk, and how your community will be impacted. From there, make a plan to prepare for and respond to climate disasters in your neighborhood. This workshop is a follow up to "Fostering Local Climate Resilience through Disaster Response and Community Care'. Attendees are encouraged to watch the video of that training in advance of this workshop. Invite your congregation to watch with you!
Aly Tharp- Farewell and Forward Together!
Aly Tharp has served as a leader in the Unitarian Universalist Climate Justice movement since 2014 will be transitioning from Co-Director of UU Ministry for Earth to a new organizing role at Green Faith, a multi-faith climate organization. Aly writes:
“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve UU Young Adults for Climate Justice, UU Ministry for Earth and the entire UU faith community over the last eight years.
I am so proud of the work we’ve done together — the many national and global mobilizations; being an executive producer and screening partner of The Condor & The Eagle documentary; organizing congregations to create eco-artwork for the 2017, 2019 and 2022 General Assemblies; the hundreds of webinars and networking calls to strengthen the UU climate and environmental justice movement… It has been hard, beautiful, meaningful work. Thank you for your faith, support, and collaboration over the years…
Given that the UU Ministry for Earth, Side With Love, and hundreds of UU congregations are active in the People vs Fossil Fuels coalition — and given how many UUs are engaged in grassroots multi-faith action for climate justice generally — I have no doubt that this transition is not truly a goodbye! Our paths will continue to intersect and unite often, as we do the sacred and important work of showing up for Life, Love and Justice.”
Read Aly’s complete letter of hopes and well wishes here.
Public Witness: “Fund Futures, not Freeways!”, Friday, June 24 at 5:30 pm PT - 6:15pm PT
When we gather in-person at #UUAGA, we make a commitment to leveraging our UU power in support of locally-led movements for justice through a Public Witness in whatever city we are in. This year, local UU climate justice activists have asked us to join them in their support of youth-led climate justice work in partnership with Sunrise PDX, a chapter of the national Sunrise Movement.
Join Side With Love, UU Ministry for Earth, and our UU youth and young adults for this short action to support Sunrise PDX's Youth vs. ODOT campaign in demanding that the Oregon Department of Transportation "Fund Futures, not Freeways!" We will process from the Synergy worship to right outside the convention center, where we will hear from youth leaders and local activists about the need to imagine a decarbonized transportation infrastructure for the future of the planet and all species. People of all ages and abilities are invited to join the Procession of Species, and lift our voices together in song and chant at this brief, uplifting youth-led rally.
Do you agree the U.S. is responsible for a huge share of emissions causing the climate crisis and should do its fair share to support mitigation and resilience development? Will you support UU advocacy for the Green Climate Fund (GCF)?
Are you a constituent in AR, CT, KS, KY, MD, MO, NH, TN, and VT? Your Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. If so, fill out this form so that UUSJ can pursue meetings with your Senators on the GCF.
In May 2022, the UUs for Social Justice (UUSJ) Environmental Action Team (EAT) did structured meetings with select targets on funding the GFC, a vital international effort to assist poorer countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help their people adapt to the worst effects of climate change. This effort was endorsed by UUMFE and UUJEC. We sought to learn why the GCF fell out of the FY-2022 budget and what can be done for the FY-2023 cycle. We heard about a political circumstance where faith voices are needed to press the Subcommittee to fund the GCF for both moral and policy reasons. Will you support this work?
In May 2022, we hosted the webinar Fostering Local Climate Resilience through Disaster Response and Community Care.
Special thanks to Rev. Karen Hutt, Unitarian Universalist Trauma Response Ministry; Halcyon Westall with the UUA Disaster Relief Fund and Faithify; and Rev. Cynthia Cain for helping us all reflect on how to cultivate community care in response to climate disasters.
You can view the recording here. Share it with your congregation to start a conversation on climate resilience and disaster preparedness!
Climate disasters impact our communities - how can UUs be prepared? Join this hands-on workshop with activities to help you identify the climate risks, understand who is most at risk, and how your community will be impacted. From there, make a plan to prepare for and respond to climate disasters in your neighborhood. This workshop is a follow up to "Fostering Local Climate Resilience through Disaster Response and Community Care'. Attendees are encouraged to watch the video of that training in advance of this workshop. Invite your congregation to watch with you! Sunday, July 10 - 4ET - 3CT - 2MT - 1PT
Climate Resilience through Disaster Response and Community Care Webinar Materials
After a warm and grounding welcome from Rev. Ashley Horan, the event started with a quick introduction to systems thinking and making connections on climate justice. Climate Justice Organizer, Rachel Myslivy, shared two frameworks to shape the event, including the What? So what? Now what? framework from the Human Systems Dynamics Institute and a framework for cultivating meaningful dialogs through deep listening, direct speech, appreciative inquiry, and genuine appreciation.
Case Studies. Two congregations shared case studies to seed conversations among small groups. Eva Berringer from First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa and frontline partner, Kayoki Whiteduck, discussed ways to cultivate relationships with frontline communities focusing on the emerging partnership with First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa and the youth Future Food Warriors at the Ajashki Food Security Initiative. Ian Goddard from Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church (NSUU), located in Danvers, MA discussed the ways their Green Sanctuary Team reached out to front line organizers and by so doing also increased the percentage of congregation members and friends engaging the work with a particular focus on creative ways to increase engagement throughout the pandemic. Ideas generated from the small groups were collected through Mentimeter and are available for viewing here and here.
Deepening Engagement. After each case study, small groups came together to process the information, consider the implications, and frame next steps. Using the What? So what? Now what? framework, Congregational Justice Organizer, Rev. Ranwa Hammamy posed questions for each group to consider. Ideas generated from the small groups were collected through Mentimeter and are available for viewing here and here.
Action Center Spotlight. The final portion of the convergence focused on the Now what? portion of the framework featuring a deep dive into the Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team’s Action Center. Rev. Cathy Rion Starr provided participants with several actions to take, including joining Skill ups and Community of Praxis events. Participants shifted from learning to action on the UUSJ Water Resources Defense Act (WRDA) action alert. Hundreds of UUs learned about WRDA and took action! Share the WRDA Action with your friends, family, and congregations! Watch for a follow up click-to-call to contact your congressional representatives on WRDA.
Throughout the event, Canedy Knowles of the Side With Love Fun & Spiritual Nourishment Volunteer Squad helped integrate mind and body and spirit with engaging activities that reinvigorated the group and helped us refocus for each section of the event.
Side With Love would like to thank everyone who helped bring this Convergence together including
Rachel Myslivy, Climate Justice Organizer
Rev. Ranwa Hammamy, the Side With Love Congregational Justice Organizer
Rev Cathy Rion Starr, the Side With Love Action Center Squads Coordinator
Karen Brammer, Green Sanctuary Program Manager
Aly Tharp, Co-Director of UU Ministry for Earth,
Rev. Ashley Horan, Side With Love Organizing Strategy Director
Audra Friend, Digital Communications, Technology, and Data Specialist
Squad members Beth Posner-Waldron and Canedy Knowles
Below are some media tips for you wherever you are striking!
Whether you are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or taking pix for other use, consider the following “shot list” of photos and videos to take to guide your efforts.
1. CLOSE-UPS WITH SIGNS
Photos of people holding signs fairly close up, say two people together with their signs. The media loves these! Show the people and their signs. Make sure you share your sign photos including the hashtag #ClimateStrike and sign. People search for those words together to find the signs, including for articles sharing the “top signs” from the protest.
Example: Tweet your sign photo with the TEXT OF YOUR SIGN written out followed by #ClimateStrikesign
Organize your group so you are all together with your signs and banners and take a group shot. Do this before things get started. Every march or protest I attend I organize people into group shots. This is often overlooked and a missed opportunity. Sharing your group photo publicly AS SOON AS YOU GATHER will help build energy and interest in the event. These photos are helpful on websites and PR for climate justice events.
Example: Group photos I’ve taken have been used in PR for nonprofits for YEARS following the action. They’ve been published in magazine articles, blog posts, coffee table books, and used in scholarly presentations on the climate movement.
3. ACTION SHOTS
Once you are marching, especially in a group with a banner, have someone from you group run ahead and take a good action shot of you marching. You can take turns doing this. Just run ahead, move to the side, and take photos or short videos of your group marching.
4. CROWD SHOTS
When you hear yourself thinking, “Wow, there are so many people here” take a crowd shot. People love seeing the size ofcrowds. Take a crowd shot. But also consider taking a short video of yourself explaining where you are, how many people there are, how exciting it is, and how happy you are so many people turned out. Show the crowd, Trump and the fossil fuel industry are watching…
Try and tell the story of your experience as it unfolds. Take photos as you are first gathering before the action. Take a photo as the crowds build. Don’t wait until everything is in full swing to take photos and share them. Help others experience marches through your eyes. I have found that sharing the story in this way helps engage people tuning in, including journalists considering reporting on the event.
6. SHARE A VIDEO MESSAGE
This takes a bit more intention, but it is powerful. If you have something to say about CLIMATE CHANGE and our need to act, share it in a video message. Take a short video — 30 seconds is fine — to share why you’re striking, your thoughts and feelings about climate, and a message for the people viewing your video. If you had 30 seconds to share a message on national TV, what would you say? Say it, tweet it, and tag it with the #climatestrike hashtag.
Example: You never know when a video will get picked up. I tweeted a short video at the start of a recent youth climate strike, tagged it #ClimateStrike and it was picked up by Twitter in the national coverage and was viewed 26,000 times within 48 hours.
If you do any of the above, I’d love to see your photos and videos and share them. Tag your tweets with @UUPLANET and I’ll get notified. That simply means including the text username @uuplanet in your tweet. Easy!
Thank you for striking tomorrow or participating in actions over the coming week! I look forward to seeing your photos and videos.